Monday, September 27 2021 - 6:26 AM
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The Price of Compassion

Have you ever thought about what has protected humanity from being destroyed? Maybe your first thought is love. But it is through compassionate acts that people alleviate each other’s sufferings. It is a conscious decision that directly affects our desire for community, for the sake of someone else.

An act of compassion should always be acknowledged because nobody, not even our families, is entitled to it. It takes extraordinary acts of selflessness to place someone’s well-being above our own. I have been lucky to have a strong support system, and throughout my life have received blessings from all different sources. The uniqueness of this quality is that it can’t be isolated. A true act of compassion stems from love.

For example, a father can be a good provider, but not necessarily be compassionate toward his child when the child is being rebellious and distant. However, when a father is loving and a good provider, it is natural for compassion to be at its core. Through it, we can better understand its price.

Showing Up

The biggest expression of compassion I have ever received has been from my parents. When I was in my first year of dental school in Loma Linda, California, my mom came from Puerto Rico to visit me for a few weeks and help me through my exams. Although I was not feeling well the day she was returning home, I assured her I was going to be ok. The pain intensified a few hours after she left, and a visit to the ER revealed that I had appendicitis. The doctors needed to remove my appendix immediately.

Mom had landed in Vegas on her layover when my sister told her the news. It was midnight, but without thinking twice, she stepped out of the plane, rented a car, and drove through the desert for four hours. It was dark and the sand storms were blocking the road. I am sure that God’s hand protected her, and directed her safely to where I was.

The surgery went well, and when I opened my eyes, the first person I saw was my mother standing in front of the hospital bed. The following weeks were filled with challenges, as I tried to pass all my classes, taking both midterms and final tests at the same time, while recovering in the hospital. By God’s grace and my mother’s compassion, I was able to complete my year successfully. I couldn’t imagine a bigger expression of kindness until I faced my fourth year of dental school.

Going the Distance

I was supposed to finish my requirements by April, and in January I was still trying to get patients in order to complete all my procedures. On a phone call with Mom, I expressed my worry and frustration about my lack of success getting the help I needed. She told me that her dentist had to do some work on her teeth, and after a few questions, it turns out she needed the procedures that I still had to complete! Without thinking twice, she placed her job on hold in Puerto Rico, froze a few meals for my father, and embarked on the journey of helping me graduate.

Once again, my super mom was saving me from big trouble! Instead of feeling like a real-life Marvel movie, I’m sure it felt for her more like a thriller. I could see it in her eyes on our first appointment as I was opening her mouth to insert the needle. I don’t know what took more courage: leaving everything to help me or trusting me with her mouth!

Through the biggest trials of my life and most vulnerable moments, I have experienced the depth of my parents’ love, which helps me understand the sacrifice that Christ made for me. If it wasn’t for their selflessness toward me, I wouldn’t have become the doctor I am today. And that means the world to me. So next time you have the opportunity to extend your hand to someone, do it with compassion, and make this world a better place to live. What are you willing to give up for the benefit of someone else?

If you enjoyed this you may like, Compassion Over PowerWhy Compassion Matters in Medicine.

Kayla Perez writes from Florida.

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About Kayla Perez

Kayla Perez

writes from Florida.

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